Thursday, December 13, 2012

Dearborn Protected Bike Lane Opens Friday (12/14)

The Chicago Department of Transportation announced at Wednesday’s Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Council (MBAC) meeting that the new protected bike lane system on Dearborn Street will open tomorrow (Friday, December 14th). The bike route extends 1-mile from Kinzie Street to Polk Street. This bike route implements a unique design that will allow bicycle traffic to flow both north and south on Dearborn while motor vehicle traffic remains one-way. To accommodate the 2-way bicycle traffic, bike-specific traffic signals are now located at every intersection.

Chicago continues to make great strides in its effort to become one of the country’s premiere cities for bicycling. The Dearborn Street protected bike lanes are the latest addition to over 27 miles of buffer/barrier-protected bike lanes installed in Chicago during 2012. According to new statistics from the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), since May 2011 there has been a 16.5% increase in the amount of bike lanes (from 114.5 miles up to 133.5 miles). 

Protected and marked bike lanes are an important way of keeping bicyclists safe and reducing accidents. However, Chicago bicyclists who use designated bike lanes still find themselves the victims of collisions with cars. Educating bicyclists, pedestrian and motorists about the new Dearborn Street bike lanes will be extremely important to the long-term success and safety of the route. It will also be extremely important everyone to follow all traffic laws, especially bicyclists using the north-bound Dearborn bike lane which goes against the usual flow of traffic. CDOT Commissioner Gabe Klein cautioned at the MBAC meeting, anyone who chooses to disregard the new signals and signs “will literally be taking your life into your own hands.” While everyone hopes for a smooth transition to the new route, as we noted in August, it remains to be seen how quickly all users of Dearborn Street will adapt to the 2-way bike lane system. 

If you have any questions regarding this post, or an issue involving Illinois personal injury law, please contact Illinois Bicycle Attorney Mike Keating — by calling 312-208-7702 or emailing him at — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All emails and phone calls are returned promptly. All initial consultations are confidential and free. Keating Law Offices handles cases throughout Illinois. The firm also works with co-counsel in other states on cases involving bicycle-related accidents.